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Kyrie eleison

[Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Church keer-ee-ey e-ley-uh-sawn, -son, -suh n; Greek Orthodox Church kee-ree-e e-le-ee-sawn] /Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Church ˈkɪər iˌeɪ ɛˈleɪ əˌsɔn, -ˌsɒn, -sən; Greek Orthodox Church ˈki ri ɛ ɛˈlɛ i sɔn/
(italics) the brief petition “Lord, have mercy,” used in various offices of the Greek Orthodox Church and of the Roman Catholic Church.
the brief response or petition in services in the Anglican Church, beginning with the words, “Lord, have mercy upon us.”.
Also called Kyrie. a musical setting of either of these.
Origin of Kyrie eleison
1300-50; Middle English kyrieleyson < Medieval Latin, Late Latin Kyrie eleīson < Late Greek Kýrie eléēson Lord, have mercy Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for kyrie
Historical Examples
  • Thus his kyrie is not the mere opening of a stately pageant.

    Sebastian Bach Reginald Lane Poole
  • The kyrie is long and elaborate, without any sustained subject.

  • The solo voices and choruses generally alternate in the kyrie.

  • The kyrie is preceded by the Introitus, beginning with a prayer for the departed.

  • I would you could see his face, kyrie, it is that of Judas Iscariot.

    The Bible in Spain George Borrow
  • Maria Nuova, and the "kyrie Eleison" was chaunted a hundred times.

    Walks in Rome Augustus J.C. Hare
  • To know Mozart's mood when he wrote the Requiem is to have the key to the "kyrie."

    Old Scores and New Readings

    John F. Runciman
  • The kyrie in the new Mass only with wind instruments and organ.


    George Alexander Fischer
  • The order on this occasion was a prelude on the organ, then a motet, then the kyrie, which was preceded by a prelude on the organ.


    Charles Francis Abdy Williams
  • The kyrie is of great length; its score occupies forty-six pages in the Bach Gesellschaft edition.


    Charles Francis Abdy Williams
British Dictionary definitions for kyrie

Kyrie eleison

/ˈkɪrɪɪ əˈleɪsən/
a formal invocation used in the liturgies of the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Anglican Churches
a musical setting of this
Often shortened to Kyrie
Word Origin
C14: via Late Latin from Late Greek kurie, eleēson Lord, have mercy
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for kyrie

kyrie eleison

early 13c., Greek liturgical formula, adopted untranslated into the Latin mass, literally "lord have mercy" (Ps. cxxii:3, Matt. xv:22, xvii:15, etc.). From kyrie, vocative of kyrios "lord, master" (see church) + eleeson, aorist imperative of eleo "I have pity on, show mercy to," from eleos "pity, mercy" (see alms).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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